March 12th, 2013



A great country is like low land.
It is the meeting ground of the universe,
The mother of the universe.

The female overcomes the male with stillness,
Lying low in stillness.

Therefore if a great country gives way to a smaller country,
It will conquer the smaller country.
And if a small country submits to a great country,
It can conquer the great country.
Therefore those who would conquer must yield,
And those who conquer do so because they yield.

A great nation needs more people;
A small country needs to serve.
Each gets what it wants.
It is fitting for a great nation to yield.
Power flows down
to every level of existence
like a river to the ocean.

Victory comes
from lying perfectly still
and waiting for power
to come your way.

If you yield to someone
less powerful than yourself,
you will be in a position
to influence them.

If you submit to someone
more powerful than yourself,
you create an opportunity
to get your own way.

So if you want to get ahead,
lay low and bide your time.
That way, everybody's happy.

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.

Chapter 61

61.1 A great nation flows downward
       into intercourse with the world.
       The female of the world
       always prevails over the male by stillness.
61.2 Because stillness is considered lower,
       by lowering itself to a small nation
       a great nation takes a small nation;
       by being lower than a great nation
       a small nation takes a gret nation.
61.3 So one takes by lowering itself,
       another takes place by being lower.
61.4 A great nation wants no more
       than to include and nurture people;
       a small nation ants no more
       than to admit and serve people.
61.5 Both get what they want,
       so the great should be below.
Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation